For one reason or other SM and I found ourselves in the Southall area a Saturday evening a few weeks ago. Having only ventured down that way a couple of times before, our instinct had us stick to the high street and so into Rita's we went. I had been to Rita's once on my last visit to Southall when in the middle our big shop for shawls and bangles my friend (and fellow food lover) RK developed a sudden craving for felooda. I was blown away by how delicious felooda was. Truth be told I had never heard of it until RK ordered it and even if that particular version was terrible I would have been none the wiser. But I did remember Rita's.
We started with a lamb samosa, an onion bhaji (onion fritter) and gobi pakora (deep fried pieces of cauliflower in a batter made with gram flour) served with tamarind sauce. The starters were passable. Nothing less, nothing more.
I insisted on ordering the butter chicken. I've been obsessed with finding my idea of the perfect butter chicken and I have so far failed in my mission. I'm usually on a palak/saag paneer (spinach cooked with chunks of cheese curds) mission too but I decided to give it a rest that day. Rita's butter chicken was edible - sizeable boneless chicken breast pieces, thick creamy sauce. Better than some but still lacking something ... a depth to the dish I keep looking for.
The lamb masala was, on the other hand, really quite good. The meat (hidden deep in the sauce in the photo) was incredibly tender and full of flavour. It had obviously been cooked in the sauce for a long time. The sauce itself was very nice. Nice flavours and not too much of a chili kick.
Our carbs for the evening included a very sad and very flat puri. It had obviously been cooked sometime before it was served to us and it just slowly deflated as it lay somewhere waiting to be ordered. An absolute failure of a puri.
SM is obsessed with any dish that has "garlic" as part of its name. Garlic naan was definitely a "must have".
The pea pilau was just a step better than the puri. Pilau rice with some peas thrown in. It was too oily and though I would personally just have plain boiled rice, SM is fond of flavoured carbs so flavoured rice it was.
112-114 The Broadway, Southall, Middlesex UB1 1QF
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